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News in Brief: Coastal communities unveil plans for growth; Student housing construction ‘climbed’ in 2015

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 23 February, 2016

Coastal communities unveil plans for growth

Coastal communities across England have unveiled more than 100 plans in a drive to “boost growth, jobs and prosperity”, the government has announced.

Plans encompass building a new history centre in Plymouth to redesigning Scarborough’s high street. As more than 11 million people live in coastal communities and the tourism industry employs 250,000 people across 150 seaside resorts – contributing £4 billion to the UK economy – the government says it wants to support “local coastal community teams” in reviving towns and delivering their plans for growth.

The submission of plans to the government follows the establishment of 118 coastal community teams last year, who were given £1.18 million aimed at driving forward growth in coastal areas.

Student housing construction climbed in 2015

Investment in student housing continued to grow in 2015, with contracts awarded to build more than 4,500 new student homes.

This, according to Barbour ABI, a provider of construction intelligence services, is the highest amount for more than five years.

The total value of construction projects for student housing was worth at least £2.3 billion in 2015.

There was also an overall increase of 26 per cent in student bedrooms being commissioned for construction in 2015 compared with 2014, said Barbour ABI.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “Universities and investors are behind a wave of more modern accommodation, with Wi-Fi to en suites now becoming the norm as they attempt to attract prospecting students with high-end living facilities. A wave of post-graduate accommodation has also come into play and I expect this to continue in 2016, as the majority of investors focused on bridging the gap for first-year housing prior to 2015.

“The removal of the cap on student numbers may have also triggered many universities to anticipate an increase in enrolment over the coming years, hence the jump in the number of new student bedrooms being commissioned in 2015. As investor appetite remains high for student housing, I expect it will be at the forefront for many contractors over the coming years.”

Work starts on clearing Newport steelworks site

Work has begun on a multi-million pound contract to clear and clean a former steelworks site in Newport, South Wales, in preparation for construction on it.

Plans for the site include building a 500-home urban village. It is expected that the project, developed by Tirion Group, will generate up to 1,500 jobs and create £140 million for the local economy.

After signing a contract with Tirion’s development company, Hirwaun-based civil engineering firm Walters has moved on to the 39-acre site to clear it.

Economy minister Edwina Hart said: “This project is an important element in the regeneration of Newport, bringing significant investment into the area as well as providing much needed high-quality housing that caters for households across a wide range of income groups. The development also has the potential to deliver hundreds of jobs and I am very encouraged to see work moving ahead.”

HMO planning powers come into force in Wales

New legislation that will enable planning authorities to manage the impact of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in their local area comes into force on Thursday (25 February).

Planning authorities will be able to consider the effects such dwellings might have on local areas before deciding whether to approve planning permission or refuse it.

The legislation was developed following recommendations made in an independent report, including amending the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 to give Welsh local authorities the power to manage the development of HMOs with fewer than seven residents.

More information can be found here.

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